October 22, 2006

Not Even a Hint by Joshua Harris

One thing I can say for certain is that this book's message was consistently convicting even as my perspecitve changed.

Joshua's greatest strength in this book is his focus on the Gospel, and not solely on Sex. While writing on a topic that can distract even the most disciplined of minds, Joshua consistently points to the need of Christ's centrallity in this struggle in each chapter. He does not, however, pass the whole battle off as something easy to defeat, silly, or cruely impossible. His consistent message and examples from his own life keep the book accessible and friendly.

One thing I have found hard to swallow in the past was my need for accountability. Joshua's presentation of it--and constant reference to it even from the earliest chapters--was focused more on the growth of grace in the believers life than "this'll fix the problem" style promises. Accountability in the book is shown to have a stronger Biblical bases, and it's foundation and use is reasoned and shown to be affective through Joshua's own personal experience.

Unlike other books, pamphlets, or lectures I have read or heard, this book does not through the male gender into a disparaging and nearly unredeemable light. Quite to the contrary. Joshua spends an adequate amount of time reminding female readers that men are not the only ones who struggle. As in the rest of the book, his words are ones of encouragement and hope.

Even in the more shame-connected sections of the book--chapter 6, titled "Self Centered Sex"--Joshua's message of hope reminds the reader that Christ's sacrifice was for this sin among all the others we commit. Joshua spends ample time in this chapter pointing to the opportunity and need of turning from this sin to the truth of Christ and to what He has made available to all mankind in the joy of the marriage bed.

Joshua does not, however, point to marriage as the only solution for lust. In the last third of the book, Joshua outlines several helpful options for pursuing righteousness whether one is single or married. Accountability is chief on the list, and is shown to be enhanced by Bible reading, memorization, and prayer. Joshua proves that "Lone Rangers are Dead Rangers" in the chapter with that title. While Bible reading, memorization, and prayer are extremely important, the ministry of the Body of Christ through accountability should be a believers first line of defense, not the last.

Whether you are married or single, do not simply gloss over this book or be embarrassed to pick it up because of the topic. This book is about your growth in Christ and the joy that pursuing Him over any earthly desire will bring. The promises and truths in the book are shown in every chapter to be relevant and needful for men and women whether single or married. None of us are alone in our struggle with lust, and Joshua's book gives Biblical instruction on pursuing holiness through the pursuit of Christ and the important ministry of accountability in our lives.

Thank you, Joshua for writing this book. I'm sorry this review has been so long in coming.

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